Selecting Trustworthy Suppliers


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This article discusses six tips that will help ensure a positive sourcing experience for you, whether on or elsewhere.

Including the following areas:

- Search Engines Are Good For Sourcing
- Trade Related Agency Websites
- There’s A Website For Every Industry
- Get Connected With Your Peers
- Knowing What & How To Ask A Question
- Build RelationshipsBuild Lasting Relationships

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Selecting Trustworthy Suppliers

  1. 1. ‘Trustability’ is one of the most important factors in choosing businesspartners, yet it remains one of the most difficult to gauge.While you can never be one hundred percent sure of a company’sintegrity, there are many ways you can educate yourself so if you doever run up against a questionable supplier, you’ll be able to spot thesigns easily. © 2010 - Selecting Trustworthy Suppliers - Page
  2. 2. This article will divulge six tips that will help ensure a positive sourcing experience for you,whether on or elsewhere. Search Engines Are Good For Sourcing Any company trying to promote their business or services today will have theirinformation online. If you are trying to decide whether or not to do business in a new countryor with a particular partner, the best and first thing you should always do is search for thesupplier’s information on the internet.Punch a company name into any Internet search engine such as Google ( chances are you will stumble upon a wealth of information about the company. Detailssuch as contact persons, emails or office addresses will provide you with a good foundationon which to continue further research.Once you have the company’s basic details, it’s time to move on to websites that can provideyou with more specific information such as industry association or country trade organizationwebsites. Trade Related Agency Websites Many bad cases attributed to untrustworthy suppliers can be traced to simplemiscommunications due to cultural, political and economical differences. To avoid theseproblems, it’s a good idea to study the country in which your potential partner operates.Many of the cultural differences to be aware of can be found at 1000ventures.Another good place to check out is the United States Central Intelligence Agency’s Fact Book.Many government agencies, associations and institutions related to international trade oftenhave websites to help foreigners adapt and address issues, so be sure to check out your ownas well as your supplier’s government websites.Those looking to do business in China can check out the website of the General Administrationof Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the PRC, which oversees just abouteverything that has to do with international trade in China.The website also provides up-to-date news regarding trade in the country which you may finduseful. Most importantly, all laws and regulations regarding trade with China can be foundthere.Most countries will have their own respective website, though not all are as informative andhelpful. On the bright side, they are available in English as to make it easier to use forinternational traders.© 2010 - Selecting Trustworthy Suppliers - Page 2
  3. 3. The following sites are in English and very informative: The Central People’s Government of the PRC Ministry of Commerce PRC Intellectual Property Protection in China Trademark Office State Administration for Industry and Commerce PRC State Administration for Industry & Commerce of the PRC U.S. Government Export Portal Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Australia China Business Council There’s A Website For Every Industry Whether you are a small business owner, new to trading, or sourcing for acompany, you’ll find an abundance of resources available at industry-related websites.Some will be country-affiliated such as Australia’s Information Industry Association, whileothers such as the Toy Industry Association extend past political borders. To find the industryassociation appropriate for you, type in the product category you would like to search for intoa search engine along with the words “industry association”. You should get the result you’relooking for within the first page. If not, use a more general product category and try again. Get Connected With Your Peers Online forums, chat rooms and blogs are not the most reliable sources forinformation, but the information you find there will be useful in its own way. Case in point: ifyou notice complaints against one of your potential suppliers, you might want to confrontthem about it.Likewise, a company that is very active on industry forums and provides useful information toothers is proof of the company’s willingness to help its customers, a clear sign of goodcustomer service.Be sure to actively participate in forums by asking questions as many of your questions canusually be answered by experienced peers who scan the forums regularly to provideassistance.Registration to most online forums is free, and unlike websites and publications, participatingon forums will provide you with exactly the information you’re looking for, provided youknow what question to ask.© 2010 - Selecting Trustworthy Suppliers - Page 3
  4. 4. Knowing What & How To Ask A Question First impressions are very hard to change, and can directly affect the service andanswers you receive. That’s why when you first send an inquiry, post a question online or call asupplier, make sure you are always friendly and courteous.Your first correspondence should aim to be informative and transparent. A good way ofmaking a good first impression is to include these three points: an introduction of yourself, abrief background of your company, what you are looking for and specific questions you wantanswered. Details such as what you liked about a Chen, er at product can help suppliers greatly in Dear Mr. ng offic a sourci ed in Hong a nd I am s n Yang, mpany ba understanding your needs, and can also is Steve a toy trading co My name ted, ABC Toys Limi low help them provide you with additional 6 and be Kong. en aged products you may be interested in. for childr an mar kets. ces toys Australi any sour ean and Our comp he Europ (product y for t stroller primaril our baby se of its uniqu e In addition, identifying questions may ds to y ting in regar h I liked becau ions I would I am wri -02212), whic have a f ew quest be easy for native English speakers, but BB number: d esign. I duct: shock ab sorbing that pro it may sometimes prove difficult if you egarding s utiliz ing like to ask r t design or your partner’s native language is differen odels in u have m ications not English. 1. Do yo echnology? e certif the same t cts po ssess th ur produ lia? 2. Do yo o ship to Austra rs? t e That’s why it is always a good idea to re quired cept sa mple ord 3. D o you ac OQ? actions? is the M redit card trans break down questions separately into 4. What c u accept 5. Do yo . bullet points so that they can easily response to your be identified and answered I look forward y, individually. Sincerel ang Steven Y Build Lasting Relationships The famous Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said that “if you don’t trust people,people will not trust you.” By showing too much concern and distrust for a new partner,buyers can often times cause the opposite of what they were hoping to achieve. Instead offuriously investigating a supplier for flaws, try placing a sample order.Placing a sample order is not only about receiving the product. You are in effect testing theability of a supplier’s supply chain. If you’re looking for a way to determine a supplier’s ability,there’s no better way to do it than to give them a try. So what’re you waiting for? Get outthere and contact a supplier on right away!© 2010 - Selecting Trustworthy Suppliers - Page 4
  5. 5. About (HKSE: 1688.HK) is the global leader in e-commerce for small businesses and theflagship company of Alibaba Group. Founded in 1999, makes it easy for millions ofbuyers and suppliers around the world to do business online.© 2010 - Selecting Trustworthy Suppliers - Page 5